Maszlee Malik was asked to quit as education minister because of his failure to heed cabinet directives and for often putting Putrajaya in a difficult position, a letter has revealed.
The 17-paragraph missive, written by Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad, said the former International Islamic University Malaysia (IIUM) lecturer did not listen to advice, and on several occasions, went against cabinet decisions.
Claiming to have sighted the letter, The Malaysian Insight reported that the letter was sent to Maszlee’s office on December 27 last year but Maszlee was on holiday with his family in the US at the time.
The letter reportedly noted that Maszlee had particularly failed to follow advice on the Jawi issue, free internet service for schools and free breakfast programme for pupils.
It pointed out that he did not want to split the education and higher education portfolios, too.
The letter ended with Dr Mahathir saying it had come to the point where it was better for Maszlee to resign.
“It is now time for Yang Berhormat (Maszlee) to withdraw from the cabinet.”
On the plan to introduce Jawi lessons in vernacular schools, which was proposed by the previous government in 2015, Maszlee’s decision to go ahead with it was badly received by Chinese and Tamil education groups.
Their opposition elicited hostility from Malay pressure groups, which viewed it as a rejection of the Arabic script and an affront to Malay culture and history.
This resulted in the Malay groups calling for vernacular schools to be shut down, and the Chinese educationists leading the charge against the teaching of Jawi in such schools becoming the target of threats.
Maszlee tendered his resignation on Thursday after meeting Mahathir.
Following the meeting, Maszlee said he was the victim of negative media reports which did not focus on the ministry’s many achievements over the past 20 months.
“In the end, I as the education minister was seen to have created many crises for the leadership, such as on Jawi, Internet at schools, and the free breakfast, among other issues,” Maszlee said.
Earlier report: Jan 2, Maszlee Quits